A baby sadly died during childbirth at HMP Styal due to errors made by staff after a prisoner went into labour in prison.

The prisoner has confirmed that she did not know that she was pregnant; however, she had made staff aware that she had not had a period for four to five months. At approximately 5pm on 18 June 2020, the prisoner stated that she felt extreme pain and her cellmate informed staff that she was bleeding heavily and had not had a period in months. An officer attended the cell and stated that the prisoner ‘looked six months pregnant’ and left the cell. It is understood that the prison officer contacted the on-site health care team in relation to the prisoner, but it is alleged that no medical professionals attended the cell.

The prisoner was bent over with pain but managed to leave the cell and found a prison officer, she informed the prison officer that she needed an ambulance and that she thought that she was dying. The health care team were contacted for a second time but no medical professional attended the cell. The prisoner was told to go back to her cell and lie down.

At approximately 9pm, the prisoner said that her cellmate pressed the emergency bell as she felt the need to push. The baby was born breech with the help of a prison nurse. Chaotic scenes unfolded and the prisoner stated that she knew that her baby was not okay after seeing the faces of staff. It is understood that prison staff attempted to call an ambulance but the radio system failed. When paramedics arrived at the scene it was too late to save the baby.

Evidence suggests that had the prisoner been properly assessed then the baby would have survived. The prison service has stated that it was a ‘deeply sad and distressing case’.

The Prison and Probation Ombudsman is reviewing the death. This comes alongside an anticipated report into the death of a newborn baby at HMP Bronzefield in Middlesex in 2019.

If you are looking for legal advice in relation to a claim against the prison service, we have specialists in claims for deaths in prison as well as accidents and assaults. Contact our team in confidence on 0845 287 0939 or by email. Alternatively, you can use the online chat below.